4 out of 4 stars
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Do you nurse an incurable curiosity about the Vietnam War? Do you wish to learn and glean more perspective about the effects of the war from different points of view? If yes, then Biff Wards' book titled The Third Chopstick would arm you with more information than you can imagine.
The book begins with a protest, possibly organized by young Biff and her partner — Lan, against Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War. While the rally ramps us, Biff is tangled in a vision-like trance in the body of a young guerilla in Vietnam. This experience casts the first determined hook that stirs her curiosity and further obsession with the war. This chokehold obsession leads her to many books and trips about Vietnam. She begins working with veterans, listening to their stories and understanding their perspectives. That graces her the fortune to meet with some intriguing personalities across Australia, Vietnam, and America. One of which is Raymond Fulton. Ray strikes a chord within Biff with his mannerism and flaring words. His analogy of the third chopstick gives Biff an unprecedented understanding of the compartmentalization of a Veteran's mind.
Biff Ward inks her story with the echo of a lyrical poet. There is this intrigue and delicacy in which she crafts her sentences, highlighting every word as necessary and holding a deep meaning. She tells the story with a longing savor that makes me feel like I am transmitted to Australia in the late 1980s, watching these events and taking notes.
I am very intrigued by the author's writing style. It was smooth, piquing, and very encapsulating. Also, the book is a well of information as Biff has gone all out in previous years to anchor herself to the history of Vietnam. Therefore, she pours out actual events from victims' mouths and their families. I have read some books on the Vietnam War, but none comes close to clearing the shrouded veil of the bitter happenings. Biff takes us through the veterans — their experiences and trauma. Then, the Vietnamese victims — the pre-and post-effects of the war, the wives who suffered from the veterans' traumas, and finally, her own experiences in the beautiful country. The richness of knowledge and experience in this book grips me. It is beyond commendable.
I was drawn to the character of Ray. His ability to self-diagnose and develop ways that would help him live without tipping off the edge is riveting. His analogy of the book's title also resonated with me. I cannot help but think if it also applies to other areas of life. Sincerely, there is nothing I dislike about this book. The amount of knowledge I gleaned about the war is satisfying. In addition, this book is professionally edited with just one grammatical error. For these reasons, I rate The Third Chopstick 4 out of 4 stars.
I recommend this book to veterans and those curious about the war and its effects.
The Third Chopstick
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